My Journey through Breast Cancer

On October 11, 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage II Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) ... or as we like to call it, extreme measures for a nap (EMFN). For a while, this blog will be my cancer journal. Enter at your own risk.

13 December 2007

ah, traditions

For me, what makes Christmas feel like Christmas are the traditions. There are age-old traditions most families share, like Christmas trees and lights and eggnog and presents. But what makes Christmas truly special for me are the traditions unique to my family, memories created when I was growing up, and the new ones emerging even now.

One thing I remember from my childhood (that we don't really do anymore on account of us all being grown up and out of the house) is the "decoration of the day" game. Every day while us four kids were at school, my mom would put out a new Christmas decoration. And after we all got home, whoever found it first got a prize (usually something like a Hershey's kiss).

Another thing my mom did when we were little is take each of us, one at a time, out of school for a day to go Christmas shopping. We got to spend the day with mom, she bought us lunch somewhere glamorous like McDonald's, and we got all our Christmas shopping done for our brothers and sisters and parents. It was always one of my favorite days of the entire year, just me and Mom and shopping.

One tradition we still hold on to today is the reading of the Christmas story from Luke 2 before we open presents on Christmas morning. Usually while we're all still sitting around the breakfast table, my dad will pull out his Bible and he will read and we will listen, and for a moment at least, we're brought back to the true meaning of this favorite holiday.

Another thing I love about Christmas with my family are the stockings. Somehow my parents developed a way of stuffing stockings that, to this day, makes them our favorite thing to open on Christmas morning. They're stuffed with the usual: socks, underwear, $1 items from Target, nail polish, earrings, candy. And yet, they're still the absolute best part of the present opening ritual. I remember one year I got my real present in my stocking, a new watch. That was tricky. Nowadays, as we're older, everybody puts something in everybody else's stocking (giving Mom's pocket book a small break). But the tradition
lives on of having fun stockings chock full of stuff to wade through.

One absolute must during the holiday season is an evening with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in "White Christmas." This year its going to be a girls-only evening at Mom's (as the men have never quite enjoyed it as much as the rest of us). We sing along to all the songs, among our favorites being "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing," and of course "Sisters." The dancing is amazing and the complications in the relationships are ridiculous. And it ends with the snow finally falling after an unusually warm Vermont winter and everybody's happy and the couples make up. I just don't get why the men won't watch ...

Now that I'm married we're forging new traditions of our own. Though I couldn't really tell you what they are yet, I'm not worried. Family traditions are usually things that start happening regularly without any planning or forethought, often even by accident. One day we'll look back and realize we always do some things a certain way. And by golly, we'll have TRADITION!

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